As noted recently, BobLee visited Northern Alabama earlier this week. Yeah, I know, Tar Heels look down on Alabama like the rest of America looks down on us in “Mayberry”. When one looks down ones’ nose, it’s pretty easy to miss a lot of niceness all around you. I reaffirmed theories on “Show Ponies” and “Draft Horses” and learned about War Eagles and Red Elephants. … Swagger also had a chat with “Mayor Matt” Roberts who now markets Oklahoma Sooner athletics.
Longtime Swaggerophiles will recall our legendary commentary on Pretty DownEast Women (PDEWs) … the preponderance of attractive females east of I-95. As I suspected, the phenomenon is not specific to that locale. Northern Alabama (The “Shoals”) has its share too.
A little background … until this week I thought Muscle Shoals, Alabama was down on the Gulf Coast … nope, it’s in Northern Alabama just south of the Tennessee border. The Tennessee River and its TVA dams pretty much define this area. Muscle Shoals is a major country music center.
Muscle Shoals and Florence are the population centers. Florence reminded me of Rocky Mount and/or Hickory in North Carolina. Probably more Hickory as it’s a foothills rolling terrain. Not much “rolling terrain” about Rocky Mount (which is sorta dumb when you think about it???). Florence is 50,000 and has all the expected commercial and retail accoutrements one expects in homogenized America.
You gotcha Best Buy, Lowes, SteinMart, OutBack, etc etc etc. I was surprised. I was tooling down Hwy 72 in my AvisMobile expecting to hear duelin’ banjos any minute when I come up over a rise and voila … there was American Suburban Sprawl all sprawled out in front of me. I clicked the safety off on my Browning 12 gauge and slipped it under the seat.
I was invited for a golf outing at The Turtle Point Yacht and Golf Club. Four of my PGA Tour pals were also on hand … Stewart Cink, David Toms, Spike McRoy, and Joe Durant. Four of the “really good guys” on Tour. Stewart is a local boy and was our host.
NOTE: Lots of ingress and egress to this site lately. If you are having trouble either getting ON our list … or getting OFF our e-list, let us know. It’s NOT a conspiracy, just a compu-glitch.
TPY&GC is one of those fancy residential recreation areas with an unattended security gatehouse. Actually, Governors Club (where Spurrier still does NOT own a lot) is one of the very few such developments that keeps a manned security gate 24/7. I did a bit of reconnoitering to get a feel for my new environment.
It was pretty much a series of Southern Living covers side by side. Big ol’ houses no more than 20 years old with manicured lawns and the traditional Lexus and upscale SUV in each driveway. No lawn jockeys, Chevys on blocks, or those reflective balls to be seen.
The TPY&GC folks were very very nice folks … not a dud among’em. And, Lordy, did they have the “show ponies” on parade. I figure they cull the feminine stock about like the folks “downeast” do. At around the age of 8-10 each little gal is deemed a “show pony” or a “draft horse”. A “show pony” is destined for a life of laying by a pool, cheerleader camps, Kate Spade purses, and a doomed first marriage to a no-count son of a no-count but rich daddy who owns a few car dealerships, a lot of land south of town, and who was, he claims, a close friend of “Bear” Bryant.
A “draft horse”, alas, will be groomed for heavy lifting and working in a service industry where the employees wear name tags. “Draft horses” marry guys who wear ballcaps with those mesh backs. There were no “mesh backs” at TPY&GC while I was there.
I was not going to be there long enough to radically affect this medieval social hierarchy so I decided to let it be.
I saw a little tow-headed boy wearing a blue Carolina ballcap. I asked him if it was lonely being a Tar Heel fan in “bama. He looked at me kinda funny … yep, he didn’t give a hoot about UNC, he just liked the color. His daddy was a big Bama fan and filled me in on those sorry no-count rascals at Auburn. He also told me how Bobby Bowden came with a gnat’s eyelash of being Head Coach at Alabama. A funny Auburn story …
I was perusing the local mall and noticed tons of Auburn stuff. Since Auburn is in the far south end of the state and Tuscaloosa is just an hour away I found that odd so I inquired … silly me! The Auburn stuff is on the shelves because “nobody buys it”. As soon as any Tide stuff comes in it gets bought and goes out the door. “That Auburn crowd are a bunch of cheap hicks” I was told.
I flew in and out of Huntsville. From what I saw, Huntsville is a quite progressive city on the move. Airport is a bit on the “compact” side but plenty of suburban office parks with broad lawns and “corporate yard art”. A local fellow asked me where I was from. I told him … he said he had never been there but heard it was nice. I thought … wonder what a Triangle resident would say to a visiting Huntsvillian … ???
About whom was it said …
“What you call Hell, he calls Home.”
I had a long chat with ol’ buddy Matt Roberts on Wednesday. Matt used to be head honcho at Tar Heel Town. Now he’s Sports Marketing Director at Oklahoma. Guess what? Selling Sooner Football is pretty easy, but the rest of their programs go awanting. Students are apathetic and fans expect a BCS Championship each year. No one in Sooner Country gives The Reverend Mr. Brown much respect. Coach Stoops keeps whipping Mack like a rented mule every October and plucking the top recruits out of Texas.
Me and Matt discussed Tar Heel Football and all the various Doomsday scenarios being beat to death by the loonies. Matt concurs that September 18 versus GaTech is a “biggie”. The OU and O-State rivalry is a carbon copy of NC State – Carolina … liberal arts school vs land grant. Same exact jokes … same arrogance vs paranoia.
Speaking of “paranoia” … Wuffies in a tizzy (duh!!) … Frank Daniels III to be appointed to RBC Center Authority. Of course, Frank’s #1 objective in life is to sabotague NC State athletics !!! … Frank’s family owned “the damn N&O” for many years and “gave Jimmy V cancer” with their attacks on him … according to Lupine Lore. … wait’ll those loonies learn that Todd Turner is on the “short list” to replace MA Fox … !!!
Sending Wuff Loons into a St Vitus Dance frenzy is like driving a cat crazy with a laser pointer … it’s waaay too easy.
Texas John Slaughter made’em do what they oughta cause if they didn’t they died. Tom Tryon wearing a cowboy hat with the front brim pinned up.
If you are planning on attending BobLee’s big appearance at the Piedmont Triad Sports Club next Tuesday at noon … you need to make a reservation … Call Barb at 336 668-4556 … $20 includes a fine meal and meeting all the sports movers/shakers in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point. They expect a sell-out at the Marriot at Piedmont Triad Airport. Heels, Wuffies, Deacons, Hokies, EVERYBODY come on out … thin-skinned puckered butts BEWARE! BobLee promises NO political gigging at any Lib/Dem brave enough to show up. Pure sports … No politics!
Upcoming shows in Wilson – Greensboro – Charlotte – Raleigh
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